Dreams Over Deadlines: Slow Living Jobs That Work For You

slow living jobs


If slow living has taught me anything, it’s that life is meant to be thoroughly, purposefully, meaningfully enjoyed. To me, slow living jobs are occupations that add meaning to your life while helping you focus on what matters most. My job is more what I do while I’m living rather than what I do “for a living,” and I want to help you find a job like that too.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

I’m fortunate enough to make a living sharing my experience and passion for minimalism, slow living, homesteading, and tiny houses through writing. I think everyone deserves a job that enables them to pursue their dreams, with time left over for what matters most.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

What Is A Slow Living Job?

What Is A Slow Living Job

A slow living job is a job that supports your ideal lifestyle and upholds your values rather than taking you away from your life and identity for eight hours every day before leaving you lurching to play catchup with your actual life and priorities.

slow living jobs offer you freedomIf you’re familiar with the concept of slow living, you’ll know that it’s all about intentionality and making time for what is truly important. It’s putting quality over quantity — doing less and cutting back on meaningless busyness in order to focus on the big stuff. It’s why I go for quality over quantity, every time.

When it comes to jobs, slow living can help you choose work that gives you the freedom to live intentionally, even at work. This mindset can help you get paid for doing what you love and what you find meaningful if you let it.

I know that jobs are about making money, believe me! But I’m not going to counsel you to go after the career that can make you the most money. That’s not what I’m all about. To me, my job helps me build the lifestyle I want, and as long as it funds that lifestyle as opposed to the lifestyle that the majority might be shooting for, then I am satisfied.

Characteristics Of Slow Living Jobs

  • Flexible: Having some control of your schedule and autonomy in your decisions is helpful in establishing a good work/life balance.
  • Meaningful: Spending the bulk of your time working hard at something you don’t care about doesn’t bring fulfillment to your life. Find something that you enjoy pouring yourself into, whether or not it is your main passion.
  • Low Stress: A hectic work environment that’s always asking for more of your time and emotional energy is the exact opposite of a slow living job. Find a position that pays the bills while providing a slow enough pace to avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety.
  • A Livable Wage: Like I mentioned, salary isn’t my main motivation, but it is an important factor. Try finding a position that supports you comfortably enough to avoid financial stress. If this proves difficult, maybe evaluate how you are living and spending and try simplifying some things to support a slower lifestyle.

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What Are The Benefits Of Slow Living Jobs?

What Are The Benefits Of Slow Living Jobs

My slow living job has enriched my life by providing a sustainable income, a flexible schedule, and a comfortable level of challenge, all while making my life feel meaningful and enjoyable. I love what I do, and that makes my life rich.

Benefits Of A Slow Living Job

  • More Joy: When you shift your focus from making as much money as possible to enjoying your life as much as possible, you’ll find room in your life for more joy. This attitude shift can help lower your inner stress and anxiety that constantly battle your peace and happiness, giving you a better, more enjoyable lifestyle.
  • Better Financial Planning: Having a slow living job and mindset doesn’t mean not caring about money. In fact, it involves thorough research and careful future planning and investing — all while making sure you’re investing in a life you really want.
  • Better Relationships: When you prioritize your life correctly (which is what slow living is all about), you will start putting the people in your life above your career and money goals because you’ll realize your close relationships are more important than that job promotion.
  • More Life Satisfaction: When you’re intentionally making choices at home and at work based on what’s important to you (i.e. your personal values and priorities), you will feel fulfilled with where you’re at and what you have rather than always feeling the need for more.

These benefits are really what we all want in life, if we’re honest.

slow living quotesWhether you are career-driven or more laid back about your work life, a slower philosophy of work and money has a lot to offer, but it does require a mindset shift. You can’t be focused on accumulation, wealth, and climbing the corporate ladder while living a slow living ethic at the same time.

I have a slow living job because I evaluated and chose over a decade ago what is really important to me. In the 2009 recession, I lost the job I had gone to school for when the company I’d been working to get ahead at closed its doors. I got another position soon after, but many others I knew were not as lucky, and my worldview of job security and the “American Dream” shifted drastically.

It took four years of working, planning, and self-searching, but I built my dream life and career by deciding to go against the norm and the status quo. I chose joy, fulfillment, purpose, and slow living values over fast money, rising on the corporate food chain, stress, and burnout. That’s a choice I can’t make for you.

How To Pursue A Career And Slow Living At The Same Time

How To Pursue A Career And Slow Living At The Same Time

Careers and slow living might seem to go against each other, but as I’ve said many times, living slow isn’t about living lazy. Pursuing a slower lifestyle and career actually takes a lot of work and discipline, but it’s the good kind. The kind where you know your sacrifices will pay off in dividends of satisfaction, peace, and fulfillment rather than just raises, bonuses, and promotions.

Learn How To Say No And Set Firm Boundaries

You can’t live slowly if you say “yes” to every opportunity, social invitation, or requested favor that comes along. If you love being up for everything, I get it. You want to be nice, helpful, and a good friend and employee. But you don’t have time for everything.

Greg McKeown

“If we have no clear sense of the opportunity cost — in other words, the value of what we’re giving up — then it is especially easy to fall into the nonessential trap of telling ourselves we can get it all done.”

– Greg McKeown, Essentialism

Every time you say “yes” to something, it means you’re saying “no” to something else. The problem with those of us who like to say “yes” a lot is that we most often have to say “no” to the things we really want in life in order to make those yesses happen. There is a difference between being a good employee or a good friend and overworking to please others when you aren’t pleasing yourself.

This doesn’t mean you can’t ever say yes, but it means you need to be smart about when and how often you say yes. Be intentional. Keep your main values and priorities in mind, and don’t just say yes by default.

learn how to say no

Practice Mindfulness

You can’t live in the past and you can’t get to the future. All we have is the present. When we’re used to having instant access to everything, sometimes it’s hard to appreciate or even be aware of what’s happening right now in front of us.

When I started intentionally practicing mindfulness, I realized how many details had been escaping me because I had always been preoccupied by something else. Mindfulness requires practice. Believe me, it isn’t always easy. But re-centering your attention on the moment you’re in whenever you can will add so much meaning to your life.

Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

  • You’ll start to feel gratitude for what you have.
  • You’ll start to notice beauty in the ordinary.
  • You’ll start to realize that the most important things are temporary.
  • Your mindset and goals for your life will shift.
  • You will be more aware — aware of how you feel, what you want, the community of others around you, and what brings you joy.

Aim For A Dream Life Over A Dream Job

Your life is worth more than money, so you should spend it working for more than a paycheck. I know this might sound discouraging or even hurtful if you’re stuck in a nine-to-five job that you hate just so you can pay the bills (and I am absolutely not judging you). You have a lot to be proud of if you are being an adult and doing what you need to do.

Pursue a Dream Life Over A Dream JobBut sometimes I think we’ve just swallowed that “adulting is horrible” pill because we’re hearing that from everybody else who is rushed, stressed, and chasing after a job they don’t really want so they don’t fall behind or miss out on something that they don’t really need. This happens because they haven’t had time or energy to stop and think about what they actually want.

Take a mental and emotional step back with me for a moment. Allow yourself to consider a different life than a dreaded morning rush to a job that doesn’t satisfy you deep down. I know it can feel scary at first, and you don’t have to do anything quickly (this is slow living, after all), but just think about it.

Questions To Ask Yourself About Your Life

  • What is your dream life?
  • Has it been a while since you thought about what you really want?
  • Do you still have an idea of what you’d like to be “when you grow up?”
  • What if you decided to “grow up” and be what you want to be this year instead of sometime in the unforeseeable future?
  • Are you really happier chasing a bigger paycheck than you would be living the lifestyle you want?
  • Is there a way you can find or create a job you feel passionate about that can fund the life you crave?

Find A Career That Works Into Your Dream Life

If you have a huge passion for food like I do, you don’t have to spend your life in an office cubicle. I don’t have a job in food, but I do spend a lot of time growing my own produce and teaching others about gardening and homesteading. There is more than one way to pursue your passion and taking the time to find just the right avenue for your lifestyle is the point of a slow living job.

If you don’t have a consuming passion that makes a career path obvious, that’s okay too, honestly. To find a slower job that can enrich your lifestyle, don’t focus so much on the job itself. Think instead about your life, both how it is and how you want it to be.

brooke mcalary

“You are allowed to make changes to the way you’re living. You’re allowed to look after yourself. You’re allowed to decide what is important to you. And you’re allowed to create a life with those things at the center.”

– Brooke McAlary, Slow Your Home

Would your ideal lifestyle involve working from home? Working around people? Working alone? Getting paid to do what you already do and love doing anyway? Consider what brings you joy and fulfillment and do some research into job options that include the things you want.

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Low-Stress Slow Living Jobs For Different Lifestyles

Low Stress Slow Living Jobs For Different Lifestyles

People Who Like Being Active

  • Ski Instructor
  • Scuba Instructor
  • Choreographer
  • Personal Trainer
  • Lifeguard
  • Transportation Inspector

Slow Jobs For Creative People

  • Artist
  • Florist
  • Freelance Writer
  • Jeweler
  • Home Organizer
  • Interior Designer

Slow Jobs For Foodies

  • Dietician
  • Baker
  • Personal Chef
  • Butcher
  • Pastry Chef
  • Sommelier

People Who Like Being Outside

  • Farmer
  • Landscaper
  • Surveyor
  • Zookeeper
  • Adventure Guide
  • Park Ranger

Slow Living Jobs For Extroverts

  • Hair Stylist
  • Companion For Elderly People
  • Massage Therapist
  • ESL Worker
  • Childcare Worker
  • Recreational Therapist

Slow Jobs For People Who Love To Travel

  • Travel Blogger
  • Travel Agent
  • Tour Guide
  • Photographer
  • Cruise Line Worker
  • Translator

Slow Living Jobs Lowest In Stress

  • Librarian
  • House Cleaner
  • Software Developer
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Professional Engraver
  • Freelance Graphic Designer

Slow Living Jobs For Introverts

  • Freelance Transcriptionist
  • Personal Shopper
  • Mechanic
  • Carpenter
  • Web Developer
  • Blogger

How To Start Looking For Your Ideal Slow Living Job

How To find Your Ideal Slow Living Job

A slow living job for one person might not be a slow living job for somebody else. If you are pursuing a position to help your quest to slow down your lifestyle, you must personalize your search.

describe your ideal lifeTake some time to know yourself (practice mindfulness over a period of time). Nail down your values and ideals — what are deal breakers for you? Write down a list of things you like or create a paragraph describing your ideal life as though you’re living it right now. Then, and only then, look for a job that fits into that life.

If you’re looking for more help in your journey toward slower living, there are some great resources out there to help you find a path to your ideal lifestyle.

Your Turn!

  • How would you describe your ideal life?
  • Would it make you happier to spend the bulk of your time with others or by yourself?
1 Comment
  1. Software developer actually tend towards being a high-stress job, often companies work in scrum model which forces upon you a set of goals to be achieved around every two weeks or so, you’re often under stress of trying to achieve deadlines despite all unplanned disruptions or things that don’t go smoothly as planned, office politics (even if you work from home) may be an issue, constant meetings that could’ve been an e-mail, annoying managers keeping track of what you’re doing and laying out tight deadlines for everything or at least trying to negotiate the tighest possible deadlines. The more senior you become, the worse it gets.

    I don’t think some jobs in that list are a breeze as the list suggests.

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